Two sides of the same coin

Two sides of the same coin

I thought that when I was born, God flipped a coin. I imagined Him asking the question “Would this one be better than the other?” then tossing it in the air, and the world holding its breath.

I wasn’t born alone, I had a twin. Our names were only a letter different, so comparisons between us were immediately apparent. The fact that we were identical only paved the way for more judgments.

We nearly have the same faces, voices, and bodies, so it was difficult for people around us to tell us apart, physically, which meant they had to look deeper for some distinguishing feature between us. “He’s the nicer one,” “This one’s the smarter one,” “I bet you’re mom and dad’s favorite!” They picked us apart like vultures, looking for a reason to put one of us on a pedestal and the other in some forgotten corner. It didn’t feel great getting compared to my brother all the time. These labels never mattered, but they always stuck to me in some way. Every day felt like some sort of game, a competition to see who could be the “better twin.” My brother and I never acknowledged this rivalry, it was an unspoken burden the world put on us.


We shared the same classes for the first years of school, which made comparisons between us easier to make since we were in such proximity to each other. It was like I was being crucified for every mistake I made because it gave other people reasons to call me this or that. Labels, labels, and more labels, all of them were just variations of the title “the dumb twin.” Despite all this, both of us were practically tied for academic prowess, and this made it all the more frustrating when I would see his name standing proudly above mine with some decimal difference. I remember always dreading the day we’d get our report cards, and when the honor roll would come around because it meant everyone could see which twin would come out on top.


A single letter separated the both of us, and one grade point was the demarcation between praise and humiliation. It didn’t matter how big of an accomplishment I made, I was only as good as the gap between my brother and me. More often than not, it was my brother who would be on the higher end of this gap, and I would be chasing close behind him. They gave him admiration and left me with some form of pity, a crude consolation prize for second place. It was as if I had just crossed a finish line, looking at the empty racetrack behind me, thinking I was leagues ahead of everyone else, only to be met with my brother already holding the trophy.

I hated it, I hated him, I hated being a twin. Because to be a twin meant that you had to share everything. All my achievements, everything I was ever proud of, could never be admired on their own. All the things I did, had to stand beside my brother’s accomplishments, even when I thought I had put forth something gleaming and worthy of praise, when put against my brother’s efforts, suddenly it all looked dull in comparison.

They say that twins can read each other’s minds with just one look. I never knew what my brother felt about it all. I always asked myself if he ever felt the same way that I did. I wanted to know if he resented the comparisons that people made between us, or if he reveled in the praise that he received at my expense. It was senior year, when I finally asked him about what he felt about everything, about being compared to me, about all the labels that people had given us. The look he gave me as I questioned him was one of confusion.

He did notice the prying eyes, and the seething comments that people made, but he always assumed that those comments were made solely for him and that I was the twin that the masses favored. I couldn’t believe it. In all my years I had always assumed that my experiences and feelings were mine, and mine alone to suffer with. I would’ve never once thought that he carried the same burden as well.

The way that he looked at me then was as if he was staring into a mirror. He saw himself, his experiences, all his envy and pain reflected in me. We laughed at the absurdity of it all. The world tried so hard to pit us against each other, but there we were making a joke out of the intense, but pointless competition we had with each other. The truth we learned was that there was no “better twin.” People would always find a reason to compare the two of us, and that’s something we would just have to live with. We were just two people trying to navigate the ebbs and flows of life. Caught in the same storm of judgment and jealousy. In the end, it didn’t matter how it landed, as we would always be two sides of the same coin.

Gabriel Eithan P. Rabino, 17, a student from Tanauan City, currently living in his head a little too often.

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TAGS: coins, identical, judgment, opinion

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